How Severe Is My Burn?

If you are unsure how severe a burn is, do not hesitate to call 911 immediately. Thinking about a home remedy for burns? Never apply ice, butter or oil to a burn.


Type of Burns

Burns are generally classified into three categories based on their severity:

First-degree Burns

First-degree burns affect only the epithelium, or the top-most layer of the skin, and typically affect a very small area of the body (2 to 3 inches). They are characterized by pain, swelling, redness, and can result in scarring of the affected area.

Second-degree Burns

Second-degree skin burns affect the epithelium and some of the underlying dermal layer of the skin. It can, in severe cases, even extend to the soft tissue. Second-degree burns are characterized by blistering, in addition to greater pain, swelling, and redness.

Blistering is the key sign of a second degree burn. If you suffer a second-degree burn, seek medical attention promptly to accurately assess the severity, avoid infection, and get the burn treatment you need.

Third-degree Burns

Third-degree burns are the most severe ones and require emergency medical care. They affect the skin, underlying nerves and tissues, and even bones. They are characterized by extreme pain, numbness of the affected area, heat loss, and infection.

Third-degree burns are a very serious medical condition. If you believe you have suffered a third-degree burn, CALL 911 IMMEDIATELY.

Please Note: The information provided regarding the first-, second- and third-degree burns are provided for informational purposes only, and are not intended as medical advice or diagnosis for any specific condition. If you’re unsure about the nature or severity of a burn or any injury, please consult a health professional.